1. Ramji Lal, Chairman of the Panchayat Samiti, Hissar II, and four members of the aforesaid Panchayat Samiti have in this writ petition challenged the proceedings of the meeting of that Samiti held on 19th Nov. 1976. In that meeting, two resolutions were passed. By one resolution, the motion asking Shri Ramji Lal, petitioner No. 1, to vacate the office of the Chairman of that Samiti was accepted and by the other resolution. Shri Anand Dev, respondent No. 5, was elected as the new Chairman of the Samiti. It is alleged that the entire proceedings of that meeting are illegal and null and void on the grounds mentioned in the petition and, therefore, those may be quashed. In other words, the primary relief sought for in the writ petition is that the first resolution requiring petitioner No. 1 to vacate the office of Chairman of the Samiti is liable to be quashed as it was passed in excess or abuse of the powers conferred by or under the Punjab Panchayat Samitis and Zilla Parishads Act, 1961, hereinafter referred to as the Act, and also that it was not legally passed.
2. Mr. C. D. Dewan, learned Advocate--General, Haryana, appearing for respondents Nos. 1 to 3, has raised a preliminary objection that when an alternate remedy to seek redress sought for is provided by and under the provisions of the Act and the petitioners can legally avail of that alternate remedy, this Court should refuse to exercise its power under Art. 226 of the Constitution. I have heard him and also Mr. Anand Sarup, learned counsel for the petitioners, on this point. In my opinion, there is a good deal of force in the above submission made by Mr. Dewan.
3. Under Art. 226(1)(b) of the Constitution, the High Court has power to issue, to any person or authority, including in appropriate cases, any government, certain writs, subject to the provisions of Art. 131A and Art. 226A, for the redress of any injury of a substantial nature by reason of the contravention of any other provision of the Constitution, or any provision of any enactment or ordinance or any order, rule, regulation, bye--law or other instrument made thereunder. Clause (3) of the same Article lays down as under:--
'No petition for the redress of any injury referred to in sub--clause (b) or sub-clause (c) of clause (1) shall be entertained if any other remedy for such redress is provided for by or under any other law for the time being in force.'
Section 102(1)(a) and (b) of the Act reads as under:--
'102(1) The Government may, by order in writing, cancel any resolution passed by a Panchayat Samiti or any Standing Committee thereof, if in their opinion, such resolution:
(a) is not legally passed; or
(b) is in excess or abuse of the powers conferred by or under this Act, or any other law; or'.
4. According to the allegations made in the petition, the resolution passed by the members of the Samiti accepting the motion for removal of Ramji Lal Petitioner No. 1 from the office of Chairman in its meeting held on 19th Nov. 1976, was illegally passed and that it was also passed in excess or abuse of the powers conferred by or under the Act on the Panchayat Samiti. That being so, the State Government can be approached by way of making an application to it under S. 102 of the Act to get that resolution cancelled on those grounds. This view finds support from the decision of the Division Bench of this Court in Ranjit Singh v. State of Punjab, 1964 Cur LJ (Punj) 255. In that case, it was held as under:--
'The impugned order of the Governor, Annexure 'C' has not set aside the election of the petitioner. All that has been done is that the resolution which was passed on 2nd August, 1963, has been cancelled. It cannot be said that the first resolution removing the third respondent from the office of the Chairman can be challenged by way of an election petition under S. 121 and there is nothing to suggest that the power of the government does not extend under sub--s. (1) of S. 102 of the Act to cancel a resolution which is not passed in conformity with the provisions of the Act even though it may lead consequentially to the resulting election being made ineffective. Indeed no election of the petitioner as a Chairman it could have taken place unless the third respondent had been validly removed under the first proviso of sub--s. (1) of S. 18 of the act petitioner as a Chairman it could have been challenged only by way of an election petition. The first resolution removing the third respondent from his office not being such a matter can certainly be cancelled by the Government under sub--s. (1) of S. 102 and nothing has been said about the second resolution in the impugned order.'
In the aforesaid authority, it has been laid down that the power of the government does extend under sub--s. (1) of S. 102 of the Act to cancel the resolution which is not passed in conformity with the provisions of the Act even though it may lead consequently to the resulting election being made ineffective. That being so, the provisions of clause (3) of Art. 226 of the Constitution are fully attracted in this case.
5. It has been contended by Mr. Anand Sarup that no right is given to the aggrieved persons (the petitioners in this case) to approach the State Government under S. 102 of the Act and, as such, this section does not provide any alternative remedy to them to seek their redress and consequently they are fully justified in coming to this Court for seeking redress for the injury done to them by passing of the impugned resolution. I find no merit in this submission. It was not to be specifically mentioned in S. 102 of the Act that aggrieved person can approach the Government under that section for seeking his redress. The Government has been given the power under that section and that power can surely be exercised by the Government when any aggrieved party approaches the Government under the provisions of this section to get the relief. In S. 115, Code of Civil Procedure, power of revision has been given to the High Court and in that section it is nowhere mentioned that an aggrieved party can approach the High Court under that section. All the same, aggrieved parties make applications requesting the High Court to exercise its power under S. 115 ibid and thereupon the High Court does exercise its power given under that section in deserving cases. Thus, I would overrule the above contention of Mr. Anand Sarup.
6. The second point raised by him is that the amendment of Art. 226 was made vide S. 58 of the Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act, 1976, which came into force on 1st Feb. 1977, and as this writ petition was filed on 21st Nov., 1976, Art. 226 in its amended form is not applicable to this writ petition. This argument also is without any force. Section 58 of the Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act, 1976, makes Art. 226 in its amended form applicable even to the petitions pending before the High Court on 1st Feb. 1977, from which date the said Constitution Amendment Act, by which Art. 226 and other provisions of the Constitution were amended, came into force.
7. The last point urged with regard to the preliminary objection by Mr. Anand Sarup is that no statutory period of limitation has been provided to seek remedy from the Government under S. 102 of the Act and, therefore, the aggrieved party (the petitioners in this case) is not expected to make an application under S. 102 of the Act to the Government. This argument too is devoid of any force. However, if statutory period of limitation is not provided, then it does not mean that the aggrieved party cannot at all make an application to the State Government under S. 102 of the Act to seek his relief covered by the provisions of this section.
8. For the reasons given above, I accept the preliminary objection raised on behalf of respondents Nos. 1 to 3 and hold that since an alternative remedy to seek redress of the injury sought for in this writ petition from another authority under the Act is available to the petitioners, this writ petition, in view of the provisions of Art. 226(3) of the Constitution, read with S. 58 of the said Constitution Amendment Act, stands abated. Accordingly, it is dismissed as such. No order as to costs.
9. Petition dismissed.